Book of the Dead of Iuefankh

Book of the Dead of Iuefankh

Ptolemaic Period (332-30 BC)

Book of the Dead of Iuefankh

 

Papyrus
Ptolemaic Period (332-30 BC)
Provenance: Thebes, later Drovetti Collection, 1824
Inv. Nr. C. 1791
In this scene from the book of the dead belonging to Iuefankh, we see the focal moment, the judgement of the deceased, the so-called psychostasis or weighing of the soul. The setting is a chapel. The heart of the deceased, considered to be the seat of intelligence (not the brain), sits on a balancing scale opposite a small figure of the goddess Maat who wears the ostrich feather on her head. She personified the concept of cosmic order, justice and harmony. Together with Thoth, Maat was a guarantor of precision. She is also shown addressing the deceased at the entrance to the chapel. Thoth, who had two manifestations, one as a baboon and one as an ibis, was the god of wisdom and writing, who did the sums. As the heart (intelligence) of Re, he reckoned the additions and subtractions of the phases of the moon. A master of accuracy, Thoth was the patron of all scribes. His reckoning abilities required his presence at the weighing of the soul. Thoth appears in this scene, seated as a baboon atop the scale, and as an ibis-headed god who records the result with his palette and ink pens before a chapel of the god Osiris. The gods Horus and Anubis preside at the scale. A hybrid beast atop a small altar awaits the judgement of Osiris. Should the deceased be condemned, the beast would be commanded to eat the body of the deceased, thus preventing him from being revivified.